This is what it means if you see a purple-painted fence

Written by Henrik Rothen

Oct.03 - 2023 8:56 AM CET

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Photo: Private
Photo: Private
This is what it means if you see a purple-painted fence.

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Property owners have long sought ways to protect their land from trespassers and vandals. While signs warning against trespassing are often ignored or vandalized, a new method has gained legal recognition in several U.S. states: painting fences purple.

In states like Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, a purple-painted fence is a legally recognized sign of forbidden trespassing.

Other states like Idaho and Montana use orange paint for the same purpose.

So why purple? The color is easily distinguishable, highly visible, and even recognizable by those who are color-blind. This practice isn't new; Arkansas was the first state to enact "posting paint" legislation back in 1989.

In Texas, purple paint on posts or trees signifies that the land is off-limits to all. In North Carolina, it means outdoor enthusiasts can cross the boundaries as long as they refrain from fishing, hunting, or trapping.

Trespassing is a punishable offense, with penalties ranging from jail time to fines up to $10,000 in some jurisdictions. Property owners who choose to use purple paint must adhere to specific guidelines.

The purple stripes should be vertical, at least 1 inch wide, 8 inches long, positioned 3-5 feet above the ground, and spaced no more than 100 feet apart. Oil-based paint should be avoided on trees to prevent harm.

Next time you're outdoors, be mindful of any purple-painted fences or trees to avoid legal trouble.

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